Tips to Help Landlords Identify False Documents

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Tips to Help Landlords Identify False Documents

Getting scammed by a tenant is a landlord’s worst nightmare. Having a vacant property can be irritating, but choosing the wrong person to occupy your property could cause you to lose thousands of dollars and months’ worth of time. One of the most common ways that prospective tenants get away with fraud is by creating fake documents for their applications. Technology has come a long way, and there are entire sites dedicated to creating false paycheck stubs, tax documents and more. At, we help landlords in Atlanta, Suwanee, Roswell, Stone Mountain, Sandy Springs and other Metro Atlanta communities manage their residential and commercial properties. Over the years, we have screened countless tenants, and are aware of some of the most common techniques that scam artists use to get free rent. Here are some tips on how you can avoid becoming a victim.

Ask for Multiple Check Stubs and Check for Inconsistencies

Rather than asking for the most recent paystub, ask for several as proof of consistent income. Not only will this help you understand more about your applicant’s financial stability, it will give you an opportunity to find discrepancies between the stubs themselves. For instance, if they provide six months’ worth of paystubs yet they all look as if they’ve just been printed out, it could be a red flag. Keep in mind that some employers, particularly large corporations, may not provide physical paychecks anymore. A lot of employees prefer to get direct deposit, and their proof of income may be a pdf document sent from the corporate office. You will still want to check this over and make sure that the file doesn’t appear to have been photoshopped. Does the company logo look blurry? Does the address provided match your own research? Also, look for strange anomalies. If they get paid consistently every two weeks and you find one that seems out of place, don’t be afraid to ask them why.

Request a Full Bank Statement

Simply asking for their monthly income on the application isn’t enough to prevent fraud. They can write down whatever number they want. In addition, ask for bank statements over the past several months. This will not only show you whether they have a consistent monthly income, but having more financial documents to falsify could make the scammer rethink who they’re targeting. Again, check the document to see if it appears to have been photoshopped or if the information provided doesn’t match the banks actual public data.

Use Professional Fraud Prevention Services

There are fraud detection services and software that can be purchased. If you own multiple properties and do all your own tenant screenings, it may be worth the extra cost to have an expert check the documents for you.

Always Interview All References, Employers and Previous Landlords

Even after reviewing the documents and finding that all information seems legitimate, never just assume. It may take extra time to verify their employment and call their references, but in the long run it could save you far more heartache. Wait until you’ve narrowed potential tenants down to a small handful before you start checking references. If you discover that an applicant has lied, you can eliminate them and move on to the next on your list.

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Landlords have a lot of responsibilities. Let the property management experts at give you back your freedom. We provide a wide range of premium services including tenant screening, background checks, marketing, managing maintenance issues, collecting rental payments and more. Contact our team today to find out what we can do for you.

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